Pre-Race Report Event 20: AAA NHRA Midwest Nationals Gateway Motorsports Park St. Louis Sept. 23-25

Doug Kalitta

Doug Kalitta

After strong Countdown start, Kalitta wants to reach Gateway winners’ circle

St. Louis Highlights: Three wins (2004, 2003, 2001); One final (2010); Two no.1 qualifiers (2014, 2005)

2015 St. Louis Event Recap: Qualified fifth; Quarter-Final finish (Defeated Wayne Newby in the first round, lost to Brittany Force in the quarter-finals)

Previous Event Recap (Charlotte): Qualified first; Finalist (Defeated Ike Maier in the first round, Leah Pritchett in the quarter-finals and Wayne Newby in the semi-finals, lost to Antron Brown in the finals)

Quotable: “We did what we set out to do in Charlotte, and now my team is looking forward to continue having fun and doing our very best. Gateway has been a strong place for me in the past and I am looking forward to continuing our strong Countdown start there.”  

Career Stats: 429 starts, 581 round wins (11th all-time), 41 wins (Fourth all-time in Top Fuel), 86 finals, 47 no.1 qualifiers (13th all-time)

Countdown Stats: Ninth appearance (Kalitta has appeared in every Countdown for the Championship); 49 overall Countdown starts; 2 wins; 2 No. 1 qualifiers; 43 total Countdown round wins 

2016 Season Stats: Three wins (Houston, Atlanta, Topeka); Four no.1 qualifiers (Phoenix, Atlanta, Norwalk, Charlotte-2); Two finals (Pomona, Charlotte-2); 36 round wins

Point Standings: Second (-42); trails first-place Antron Brown by 42 points, leads third-place Steve Torrence by 58 points

Noteworthy: will campaign the DEWALT FLEXVOLT™ colors for the next two races; has won his first round pairing in 16 of 19 events this season; 12 semi-final or better finishes in 17 events this season; more round wins than season round win total from 2015; clinched his 19th consecutive top ten finish; only driver that has ranked among the top three in the point standings all season

JR Todd

Todd looks to start another streak of success in St. Louis

Highlights: Six semi-finals or better in the last eight races

2015 St. Louis Event Recap: Qualified eighth; First round defeat (lost to Dave Connolly in the first round)

Previous Event Recap (Charlotte): Qualified sixth; First round defeat (lost to Pat Dakin in the first round)

Quotable: “We did not get off to start in the Countdown we were hoping for in Charlotte, but the SealMaster team is still strong. We get another shot it this weekend, and we plan on going rounds this weekend in Gateway.”

Career Stats: 143 starts, 139 round wins, 9 wins, 17 finals, 8 no.1 qualifiers

Countdown Stats: Fourth appearance; third consecutive appearance; 19 Countdown starts; 3 finals; 4 No. 1 qualifiers; 20 total Countdown round wins 

2016 Season Stats: One win (Sonoma); Three finals (Atlanta, Norwalk, Chicago); 27 round wins

Point Standings: Sixth (-152); trails fifth-place Tony Schumacher by 25 points, leads seventh-place Shawn Langdon by seven points

Noteworthy: Currently has 27 round wins, which is a career-high (previous high was 25; earned 20 round wins in 2015); qualified top half in every start with Team Kalitta at Gateway

Del Worsham

St. Louis brings back fond memories for Worsham

St. Louis Highlights: Two wins (2015, 2009); 2 finals (2007, 2003); 

2015 St. Louis Event Recap: Qualified second; Winner (Defeated Tony Pedregon in the first round, Tim Wilkerson in the quarter-finals, Cruz Pedregon in the semi-finals and Matt Hagan in the final)

Previous Event Recap (Charlotte): Qualified 12th; Semi-Finalist (Defeated Jack Beckman in the first round and John Bojec in the second round, lost to Tommy Johnson Jr. in the semi-finals)

Quotable: “Last season, Gateway was an awesome race for this DHL Toyota team. After struggling a bit in qualifying, we had a solid race in Charlotte and I am looking for more this weekend.” 

Career Stats: 502 starts, 554 round wins, 39 wins (31 in Funny Car, 8 in Top Fuel), 66 finals (55 in Funny Car, 11 in Top Fuel), 20 no.1 qualifiers (13 in Funny Car, 7 in Top Fuel)

Countdown Stats: Seventh appearance (6 in Funny Car, 1 in Top Fuel); Fourth consecutive appearance; 37 overall Countdown starts; eight wins (6 FC, 2 TF); 3 No.1 qualifiers (1 FC, 2 TF); 58 total Countdown round wins (43 FC, 13 TF) 

2016 Season Stats: One win (Brainerd); Four finals (Pomona, Las Vegas, Seattle, Indianapolis); Three poles (Norwalk, Sonoma, Seattle); 32 round wins

Point Standings: Second (-42); trails first-place Ron Capps by 42 points, leads third-place John Force by eight points 

Noteworthy: Six straight semi-finals or better; 2015 Funny Car Champion, 2011 Top Fuel Champion; one of three drivers with championships in both nitro classes; second in the Funny Car class with 16 first round wins this season

Alexis DeJoria

DeJoria St. Louis pre-race notes

2015 St. Louis Event Recap: Qualified 12th; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first round, lost to Ron Capps in the quarter-finals)

Previous Event Recap (Charlotte): Qualified fourth; First round defeat (Lost to John Bojec in the first round)

Career Stats: 112 starts, 81 round wins, 4 wins, 7 finals, 4 no.1 qualifiers

Countdown Stats: Third consecutive appearance; 13 overall Countdown starts; 2 No.1 qualifiers; 11 total Countdown round wins

2016 Season Stats: One win (Las Vegas); One semi-finals (Bristol); One pole (Charlotte-1); 12 round wins

Point Standings: 10th (-158); trails ninth-place Tim Wilkerson by 31 points

About Kalitta Motorsports:

Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with six world championships and over 100 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.

Team Kalitta is the home of the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car World Champion, Del Worsham. He drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car. J.R. Todd drives the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster while Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Team Kalitta also manages the McLeod Racing Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Paul Lee. Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar on the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, Todd Smith on the McLeod Racing Toyota Camry Funny Car, Rob Flynn on the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster and Jim Oberhofer on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster.

Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include ARP, AutoDesk CAM, Champion, Cogistics, Darton Sleeves, DHL, Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Mac Tools, Optima Batteries, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Racing Electronics, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, Tequila Patrón, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.